Ahu and Ahuahu had been at Black Sands for over three years. Life had returned to a comfortable easy way of life without the stress of disputes, earthquakes and family concerns. For all that ease in their lives Ahu did not put on any extra weight as some women did. Hoata said it was because they both had so much to do. Quite apart from the rearing of children there was the constant need to dig the vegetable plots, harvest the produce and to make cloth and tools and ornaments to barter with others.
Not one moment of their days was spent in idleness and at days end, Ahu would relish being attentive to Ahuahu who was always very pleased wrap her in his arms once inside their house.
After their evening meal and the children were put to bed, Ahu set to and combed her hair for Ahuahu to admire. She loved his faithfulness which had been tested by their time at Black Sands.
He came up to her and took the comb from her hand and combed her hair himself. She leaned over so that their bodies touched as he did so and was surprised that he started speaking to her rather than attempting to arouse her.
“Ahu, I have been summoned to a meeting of the village council tomorrow. Has there been gossip from the women why this should be so?”
“No, Ahuahu, I have heard nothing.”
“I am thinking of who I may have offended. Let us hope it is but a trivial matter.”
Ahu turned to him and looked into his eyes. “Let us hope you will not be asked to take a grieving widow to please her family. I am a jealous woman and I do not need to share you with anyone.”
Ahuahu laughed. “I am in more danger of being clubbed to death by a young suitor that I do not know so that you will be a beautiful widow for him than that a family would want an outsider like me to take their sad daughter away.”
“You are no longer an outsider, Ahuahu. You are respected in this village.” With that she pushed him on his back and leaned over him and rested her head on his chest.
The next day, Ahuahu did not go fishing but presented himself to the village elders. They bade him sit in the meeting house. The village head, glanced at the other members and they nodded.
“Ahuahu,” the chief said, “You have been summoned here at our command. Listen to what we have to say and then you may reply.”
At this point Ahuahu was feeling a little concerned, and merely nodded his agreement.
“Ahuahu, it has been decided by the elders that you be invited to sit with us on this council. Since you have been in this village you have shown yourself to be a worthy and valuable and hard working member of the community.”
The chief paused, then continued, “We are aware that you were not born here but your work is valued very highly and your assistance with many of the families in this place and beyond has persuaded us to offer this honour to you. Will you accept this great responsibility and work for the good of the village?”
Ahuahu was so relieved he had not offended anyone in the village he responded straight away. “My chief and elders of the council, I am surprised and greatly honoured have voted for me in this way. If there is none other suitable I should be glad to be a member of the village council and will continue to work for this village and its people.”
The group of elders all nodded with agreement and came up and rubbed noses with Ahuahu and slapped him on the back.
The chief then indicated that was the whole of the business to discuss that day and the meeting broke up.
Ahuahu found Ahu tending the vegetable plot with both the children with her later that day. As she was on her own he went up to her and told her what had happened. She looked puzzled for a moment then a smile appeared on her face. “Am I allowed to sleep with one of the head men?” she asked.
“Only if you ask my permission first,” he replied, then after a pause went on, “and that head man is me.”
Later at home Ahu could see that this honour may indeed be a burden that would be hard to bear if other members of the village were offended, especially Kamaka the husband of Hoata and Ahuahu’s best friend.